‘We had no idea this patient was pregnant,’ nurse tells 911 operator after woman in vegetative state gave birth
PHOENIX — When a woman who has been in a vegetative state for years suddenly gave birth at an Arizona care facility last month, caregivers were taken completely by surprise, telling 911 dispatchers, “We had no idea she was pregnant.”
Phoenix police released audio of the frantic 911 call a nurse at the Hacienda HealthCare facility made after the 29-year-old woman gave birth on December 29. She has been a patient there since 1992, according to court records.
Police are treating the case as a sexual assault investigation and have begun gathering DNA from men who work at the facility. But there is currently no suspect in the abuse of the woman.
‘We were not prepared for this’
The audio of the 911 call, obtained by KNXV, paints an image of a frantic scene as workers rushed to save the baby boy, who was not breathing and “turning blue.” All the names were redacted.
“We need help, please,” a nurse yelled at the dispatcher, who tried to calm the nurse and get the address of the facility.
“Baby’s turning blue! The baby’s turning blue!”
A man got on the line who asked for clarification.
“Okay, what’s the emergency?” he asked.
“Someone just had a baby — one of the patients just had a baby, and we had no idea she was pregnant,” the nurse said. “We were not prepared for this.”
After the nurse provided the facility’s phone number, the man asked her, “And the mom is doing okay?”
“We’re not sure,” the nurse said. “We had no idea this patient was pregnant.”
‘A complete surprise’
Soon after, the nurse yelled, “Is the baby breathing? Baby is not breathing, baby is blue.”
After the man confirmed that someone was performing CPR on the baby, he asked again, “How’s the mom doing?”
“Mom’s doing well — it looks like she’s doing well,” the nurse said. “We had no idea this person was pregnant.”
“I understand,” the man said, “does she know how far along she was or anything?”
“We have no idea, this is a complete surprise,” the nurse responded, without explaining that the woman is in a vegetative state.
The nurse said the woman appeared stable and that others were checking her vital signs. Meanwhile, others in the room worked to resuscitate the baby, doing compressions on his chest and using a self-inflating resuscitator.
Not long after that the wails of a newborn baby were heard in the background, echoing through the room.
“Oh my gosh, thank God,” the nurse said.
‘A deeply disturbing incident’
According to police, the woman and the child are being treated in the hospital.
The family’s attorney has said they are “outraged, traumatized and in shock by the abuse and neglect of their daughter at Hacienda HealthCare.” The family will care for the baby, the attorney said.
Hacienda officials called the situation “a deeply disturbing incident,” and said the facility was cooperating with law enforcement and state agencies. Bill Timmons, the company’s CEO, resigned on Monday.
The company has also been ordered by the Arizona Department of Health to implement “heightened safety measures.”